You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
I once wrote a sermon on diligence, and to describe the word as Scripture does employed an acronym:
- The diligent are Doers – as opposed to merely dreaming and talking
- The diligent are Intrepid, er, courageous – work often requires not being intimidated by the various ‘lions in the streets’
- The diligent are Lowly – when you get to work you will discover how many basic things you don’t know, and so have to humble yourself to learn
- The diligent are Intent – that is, they work with focus and energy
- The diligent are Growing – a challenge met by work brings progress which then produces new challenges etc etc
- The diligent are Expedient – doing what needs to be done, when it needs doing
- The diligent are Nimble – there are many small things to be done: attention to detail!
- The diligent are Competent – the work requires more than flurry and scurry…skills are needed too!
- The diligent End well – the work isn’t done until it’s all the way done
All of these qualities of diligence are suggested by Scripture, especially the Proverbs.
And now after mulling them over I’m ready to list some antonyms of diligence: half-heartededness, carelessness, sloppiness, apathy, mindlessness. Words which capture how a lot of us practice our religion: Fie on you Landry!
What 119:4 claims is, first, obeying God’s rules is important… Ok, saw that one coming.
But secondly: conducting yourself by God’s rules will require some diligence: procedure, alacrity, skills, willingness to face some awkwardness, attention to detail, follow-through, regularly facing new difficulties, forethought, courage. Yes, the commands come with a command: diligence!
So while a moving sermon or a deep spiritual experience might start you down the path of obedience, it’s heeding God’s call to diligence that will keep you on it.